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  • Writer's pictureDrew Bentham

ERC Rally Hungary Preview 2024

Mathieu Franceschi in action
Mathieu Franceschi in action

New for 2024 in the ERC are rule changes, events, crews and even surface changes. So let's take a deep dive into what we can expect from the new look championship.

As previously reported back in November, Wales returns to the ERC calendar after almost 30 years away with Rali Ceredigion also marking the first UK round of the championship since 2016. Fans of the event the event will already be aware of its tight and twisty lanes that will make up the stage miles of a rally that is going from strength to strength.

The season kicks off where it ended last year. For the first time, Rally Hungary will open the 2024 ERC year from 12 - 14 April. While Rally Hungary is no stranger to the ERC, this year will see a surface change from asphalt to gravel and a new base moving to Veszprém.  Rally Estonia is back on the European championship trail from 5 - 7 July having last staged the action in 2016. Motorsport Italia is planning a new Power Stage location with details of another new stage due to be announced in the coming months for this years running of Rally di Roma Capitale. Another event to change its surface is Rally Poland, returning in October the event changes to Tarmac tests in and around the southern city of Katowice for the first Rally Silesia to count for the European championship from 11 - 13 October.

If your interest is more than a passing one, you may already know of the new rule changes. Rather than selecting their road order for leg one, eligible drivers start asphalt-based ERC rounds according to the results of the Qualifying Stage and for gravel events, the starting order is a reverse of the Qualifying Stage classification. There's now a 3rd championship to fight for. Perhaps an 'out-of-the-box' idea, but tire manufacturers now have something to fight for too. The FIA European Rally Championship for Tyre Suppliers, recognises each nominated tyre supplier able to score points, with the two best placed ERC-registered Rally2 cars fitted with its tyres in the final classification of each rally.  A separate championship has ben introduced through an alliance with car builder M-Sport Poland, called the Fiesta Rally3 Trophy.

Toyota Gazoo Racing have busied themselves getting the all new GR Yaris ready for customer competition. Both Mikko Heikkilä will run a car in this years championship, hoping for success from round 1. Mārtiņš Sesks switches from Skoda to Toyota ahead of the season title charge. Filip Mareš will also take one of the new cars.

ERC Hungary Key Stats
ERC Hungary Key Stats

A standout point that shows the ever-increasing popularity of the ERC, the established feeder series to the FIA World Rally Championship, 52 crews from 24 countries have registered including 28 in headlining Rally2 machinery, plus 17 in the Junior ERC Championship.

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